“Conflict is what makes a story worth reading. Without a struggle, a moral choice, tension, and opposing forces, a story would be nothing but a boring discussion of facts.” "How to Write Conflict" (link no longer works, sorry)The difference is that crisis is usually a circumstantial event or action, such as a car accident, a robbery, a break-up in a relationship. Conflict is the choices or struggles the character has to make, sometimes because of crisis. Conflict happens inside the character.
These are the Basic Types of Conflict in a Story:
- Inner Conflict: The character is struggling within themselves, with what they want or what they do
- Relational Conflict: The character is struggling with someone else
- Social Conflict: The character is struggling with a group
- Survival Conflict: The character is struggling with fatality
- Situational Conflict: The character is struggling with a situation -- in this case, the character’s problems involve the interests, problems, ambitions and situations of others and their affect on the character.
- Man vs Nature
- Man vs god or religion
More websites on conflict and tension in fiction:
Fiction Factor—a list of essays on conflict.